music


 

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Have a heart.

 

Shoop” is a legendary song by the trailblazing hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa. We know the song, we love the song, we know the group and you agree with that first sentence I wrote. In the song Shoop the women espouse the same feelings about men.

Shoop isn’t looked upon negatively. The individuals within Salt-N-Pepa haven’t been vilified, boycotted, or taken to task for their lyrics. Salt-N-Pepa spent many albums man-ogling and telling men in no uncertain terms what they wanted them for.

Men and Women are different so shouldn’t their interpretations of similar things will also be different.

She raps “thank your momma for a butt like that.”
He raps “you got an ass like that from your momma.”

This is simply two different gendered people saying the same thing.  You’ll say it’s not but what you are really saying is that”She can get away with it but he can’t.” This is a double standard with all the agenda and psychotic trimmings. This is similar how women are more violent than men, but men are the only ones tagged with the violent label. Shoop was a sample of Ike Turner’s “I’m Blue”, how’s that for irony?

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Salt-N-Pepa here

Salt-N-Pepa’s song “Let’s Talk about Sex”, pretty much said the same thing, but people miss the point. There are thousands of songs by men showing their appreciation, like, lust of the female form, but not seeing the similarities in songs by females is not an industry problem; it’s a mental one.

Aaliyah goes Back & Forth while Lil Kim is being nasty as she wants to be. Khia can talk about her neck, back, and crack, where Nicki Manaj just so happens to put ice cream. Don’t overlook Beyonce’s drunk lovin’ or Foxy Brown’s sex without protection, disease infested. Liz Phair is fucking and running to Ciara’s Body Party. Trina maybe the realist chick, but Sheen Easton has those Sugar Walls.

Millie Jackson doesn’t want a halfway lover, but as Madonna said you can burn up from it. Iggy can give blowjobs for Louboutins, while Janet Jackson reminds the nasty boys that loves isn’t free. And by now, it doesn’t even matter how much Kelis charges for her milkshakes, because the double standard is real when everyone knows that whips and chains excites Rhianna.

Yet any male artist who utters something remotely sexual or unflattering is automatically labeled a misogynist. Maybe the blueprint laid out by Marilyn Monroe in Diamonds are a girl’s best friend was literal and not figurative.

These songs are reflective of the differences between men and women. Men aren’t and don’t protest songs where women lusting, ogling, body worshiping, showing them in a less-than-flattering light or shaming them. Men don’t protest those things not because they aren’t sensitive or that they don’t care. They don’t protest because they know it’s a song and you have a choice.

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Sometime you don’t want to feel, you just want a new purse.

“It’s so important that we let women express their sexuality and share their bodies.”K. Kardashian Sounds more like exploitation, but really how many times can you take naked photos of yourself and claim your are breaking the internet. How many times is it going to be about how you  look? If only people could take a selfie of their personality, social media would be the quietest place on the planet.

There are varying degrees to this sexual appreciation, but isn’t everyone different? Are men and women the same? Shouldn’t different points of views be appreciated for those differences not vilified, like Nelly was.

Forget the almost immediate call to the authorities when a males shows any hint of emotion…I wonder how many guys would be arrested if they dressed with their ass and flesh parts hanging out as a matter of liberation?

Women entertainers don’t have almost naked people dancing all around in their videos like men do. Some women entertainers are the almost-naked person dancing around in their videos.

These complaints from various groups and people are not about the entertainers having women on display in their video, it’s about the women displaying themselves and people being jealous of that display.

Of course we pretend like double standards don’t exist mainly because we benefit from them. There is also an anti-black-maleism is mixed into this topic in this also. How else do you explain Solange attacking Jay Z on camera and it being laughed off because it was o.k. to hit him because he’s a man. How do you explain Eminem’s lyrics vs. anyone’s…really.

 Misandry of the worst kind is the kind that goes about unchecked.

Women look men up and down, beyond his well-fitted suit, his lips, his hair, his shoes, and his wallet all the way to how he dances. Women look at men’s “packages,” watch men strut with sculpted muscle, sweating, pumped and shirtless. They watch the ones who grins because they look good with their shirts off and they watch the ones who don’t look so good with their shirts off. Women get a different, albeit less-obvious kind of eyeful, but an eye-full none-the-less. Yet it’s the men who quickly get slapped with some kind of condition or a syndrome for even acknowledging that they do the exact same thing.

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Here are the most popular searches for what people in the United States like…

Since women watch more porno than men, ladies what exactly is a porn addiction and what is the treatment for such a condition? I asked the question, knowing that no answer would come…

Some woman have made a name for themselves solely based on who they have slept with, but a man that has sexual encounter with multiple women is somehow a deviant.

Many women use vibrators like their is no tomorrow. There are married women who watch porn all day and other women who if they weren’t working would be watching porn all day, and they don’t have a condition, but Kirk Franklin does…

This double standard extends beyond music and pornography. Hillary Clinton said “I won’t play the woman card but I am a woman.” The largest allure of Hillary Clinton isn’t her policies, it’s that she gets to beat up on male candidates.

Karrine Steffans…AKA (SuperHead…don’t ask) said that Oprah and Maya Angelou were hoes…let’s see what happens when you publicly say it.

Many studies have found that women, without any legal restraints demonstrated a desire to control their partners and were more likely to use physical aggression than men.

 

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Is she still out there?

When the “terrorist” are women, society talks only of helping women and girls stay off this deadly path, while we launch unmanned drones to kill men and boys. Now that’s value…right there.

Women openly spank children and don’t get arrested, in fact most people are afraid to say anything to a woman who is disciplining her child. Someone is spanking a child in a crowded store and you need to go over four aisles to call the police…really.This powerlessness has lead to an industry of Spanking Shamers,people who openly say that people who were spanked as a child has mental issues.

If women didn’t support wars, there wouldn’t be any wars…try it and watch… Men would not be fighting other men if it weren’t for the vague notion of protecting their love. It’s violence by proxy because men are expendable.

This photo of Malcolm X carries a rifle while.peering out of a window in September 1964 issue of Ebony dramatized his defiance of threats. Contrary to what has been reported, he was actually hiding from an old girlfriend. Men are called deadbeats but bad mothers,just need a little help… She’s a stay-at-home mother, but she’s also single….ridiculous right…isn’t it all.

Tiger wood was hit with a nine-iron that fractured his cheekbone, by his wife…nothing was done, in fact he was ridiculed as the media tried to blame his injuries on a car accident. This being the case why would any male think that they would be viewed fairly? Recently Hope Solo and Britney Griner had domestic violence incidents and received a slap on the wrist for them, not so for male players, they lose their jobs.

There are more than 200 academic studies that show women are more likely to be the perpetrator in non-reciprocal violence. Since you may not read the studies that means females hit first and often, but it also means that if the male doesn’t take this kind of treatment and chooses to strike back…he then becomes the abuser. When women hit men it’s not being reported as violence, it’s views a being playful, emotional, she’s going through something or as the recipient deserved it.

People are people and no one wants to be hit by someone else, so why aren’t we as a society looking at them the same?

 

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Is it still funny?

What we will hear is a series of buts, someone muttering about pushing boundaries or role reversal, followed by lines that include copious use of the word “historically.” Women look at men as sex objects figuratively and literally, women are watching lots of porn, women are violent yet we pretend that it’s not happening.

There are laws that make infanticide a milder crime….why? Why are cities installing Safe Haven Baby Boxes, so a woman can just put her unwanted babies into these metal boxes?

We have slanted adoption laws, where women can at any time wash their hands of their kids with no consequences, financial or otherwise, to discourage infanticide, meanwhile men who walk away are jailed. Program on top of program exist supporting mothers, some of which aren’t good mothers, but men are put in jail when they are behind on child support.

Laws have been formed, jobs have been lost, and lives have been changed due to these glaring double standards. You’ll end up explaining how “Life isn’t fair”to children who will unavoidably grow up with a series of W.T.F.s in their head when they don’t have to.

 

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Today our society is not based on evidence and children grow up not understanding the whys in a land of equality and rules. Some grow up not understanding that they are somehow less than equal and the rules seem to arbitrarily be applied. As adults, we should know better. As parents, we damn sure should know better.

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There is a balance to everything

People notice how Former President Bill Clinton, who has been abusing and taking advantage of women for decades, remains one of the most beloved political figures in history. People wonder how did Ja Rule reached number one on the charts with lyrics such as, “I like to keep them drugged up on ecstasy”. While Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, in different songs, both hinted at putting something in a woman’s drink at a club, but for some reason only Rick Ross was taken to task for these lyrics.

In Chris Brown’s song “liquor,” a woman put something in his drink at a club and not one peep came from the masses. Is someone is telling the masses when to be outraged and who to be outraged at? Or are we a morally shallow society that allows double standards based on whether or not a person is liked? Either way that’s not a society built on rules, that’s a society built on enforceable whims.

Recently legendary Brian McKnight released a preview of his song “If you’re ready to learn”, from an upcoming Adult mixtape. Yes an Adult mixtape, filled with highly sexualized music tracks. Now remember I said “Adult”, here are the lyrics:

Every time you give it up, you leave so unsatisfied.

Pointing the finger, the feelings that linger, leave you asking the question Why?

They talk a real good game, but they don’t know what a tongue is for.

They wine you and dine you, you let him untie you and you leave wanting more.

I did my post-grad in pussyology, so what I tell you might seem strange.

The things you don’t know about your physiology, you don’t have to be ashamed.

Chorus

Let meeee show you have your pussy works, since you didn’t bring it to me first.

I have lots of things to show you, if you’re ready to learn.

Let meeee show you have your pussy work, I becha didn’t know that it could squirt.

I have lots of things to show you, if you’re ready to learn.

I don’t know if drugs, alcohol or crying were involved in the making of this song, but I do know that Brian McKnight, even with such a haunting chorus as this, will now never get a Grammy. I wouldn’t call this a comeback, but it is hilarious and or his newly leaked “Anal” song is a bit disturbing. It’s a huge leap for the Brian McKnight who moved us with great songs like, “One Last Cry” , “Anytime”, “Back at One”  and “Still” to be happily singing about the Vajayjay. I’ll be the first to say that men do think and say that they can show women how their p*ssy works and most of them have no idea how to use their tongues, but here it just seems tacky.  Many women don’t know their physiology, allow dudes “hit” far too quick and are are partially to blame for not being satisfied, so the topic is worth discussing, but in heavy rotation on an R&B song… Crooners and real singers are gone from R&B, replaced by talented well produced entertainers. R&B songs are all sexual, most of the emotion and soulfulness is gone. R&B purest complain about the electro-club-rap-pop feel of the songs, just as much as they question who isn’t or who is R&B?

Questions remain…Adele, Drake and Rihanna are they R&B, or just pop? Rhythm and Blues once connected with us emotionally, not just sexually. Much of what passes for R&B played on the radio has lost it’s soul. When Drake sings with emotion, he gets air-time, but by-in-large he gets hated on, is the public is saying “We don’t want to feel anymore”?  Usher’s new song “Climax” which gives the genre a much needed soulfulness, usually gets played with sped up techno-club track behind it. As singer/songwriter The Dream recently noted “What’s crazy is that blacks can’t do soul records any more, we love Adele singing it, but Beyoncé singing it? No, the tempo’s too slow, gimme the club hit. Now the blacks in America are responsible for the pop records, and everybody else is singing soulful records. It’s weird to me.” The Dreams’ comments indicate an even deeper discussion about why R&B is in the midst of an identity crisis.

Are we ready for these type of R&B songs?

MG Hardie

Part 1

Far to often we have waited until it was too late to give thanks to the people who moved and inspired us. We give awards and accolades long after they were deserved. Some of these artist made us feel, think and others showed us that it is okay to human and that we are not alone. If nothing else perhaps some of these artist will be rediscover by some and seen in a new way by others. We grew up watching R & B borrow from soul and jazz elements, to co-opting hip hop grooves, to mixtures of pop and now even techno musings. I have created this list not based solely on sales, or emotions, what this means is that having a hit or two wont get you on this list, while dropping a classic album might. These artist had guts, creativity, range and most importantly impact and without them R & B would not be the same. A lot of women have contributed to R & B, but here are my top 15.

1. Aretha Franklin (Queen of Soul)

She epitomized gospel-charged soul and has 18 Grammys,  20 No. 1 singles, 45 “Top 40” hits, to back that up. She also has the most million-selling singles of any female artist with 14. Between 1967 and 1982 she had 10 #1 R&B albums – more than any other female artist. The term “Diva” was coined just to describe her talents. Ms. Franklin is the epitome of a trailblazer with her vocal style and ability and is one of the few living legends who can still perform at a high level to this day. Franklin was the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Respect”,”Never Loved A Man the Way I Love You”,  “Think”, “Chain of Fools”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Giving Him Something He Can Feel”

2. Whitney Houston (Whitney)

at 170 Million albums sold Whitney is the most awarded female singer ever. She has number 1 albums and soundtracks that have powered her film roles. Whitney is one od the few singers who could sing anything and it would be a hit. Case in point the “Star Spangled Banner” , which she performed at Superbowl XXV , was released as a single and was in the top 20. In the early 90’s Whitney skillfully rode Michael Jackson’s wake and knocked the doors opened for other female artist such as Janet Jackson and Anita Baker “Because of what Whitney did, there was an opening for me… For radio stations, black women singers aren’t taboo anymore.’ says Baker. Whitney tackled big adult contemporary ballads, effervescent, stylish dance-pop, and slick urban contemporary soul with with dexterity and grace.  She was commondly referred to as a phenomon because when she sang a song…it was sung and no one could do it better. “Greatest Love of All”,  “I’m Every Woman”, “Greatest Love of All”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, “I Will Always Love You” and “I’m Your Baby Tonight”


3. Etta James

James has four Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. In the 1950s and 1960s, she had her biggest success as a blues and R&B singer. She is best known for her son “At last”.  In modern times Ms. James is often overlooked, but she can flat out sang and her music has lived on for decades. “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” “Stop the Wedding,” and “Would It Make Any Difference to You”

4. Patti Labelle

A one woman powerhouse of vocal & musical ability, Ms. Labelle is one of a kind. Blessed with power, range and passion her voice is as powerful as it is graceful.  Her unwavering appeal has spanned more than five decades. She has hits such as “On My Own,” “Somebody Loves You Baby” and “New Attitude.” There is no one quite like entertainment legend Patti LaBelle. “On My Own“, “If Only You Knew“, “Have a Little Faith in Me”, “If You Asked Me To“, “Stir It Up” and “New Attitude“.

5. Chaka Khan

in the 1970s she was the frontwoman of the band Rufus, however, her solo body of work stands on its own. As a singer she is the most diverse with her range and vocal skill. When it wasn’t fashionable for singers to record their own background vocals, Khan made her own fashion statement and arranged her own. Chaka Khan is clearly in a class by herself. Her vocal style, identifiable in a flash, is a major force of nature in music, a sound like no other.  “I’m Every Woman”, “This Is My Night”, “Got To Be There”, “What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me”, and “I Feel For You”

Billie Holiday, Dionne Warwick, Minne Ripperton, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole and many others.

Part 2 

M

This list is not based only on albums sales, nor pure vocal power, this list takes into account the artist impact. Each of these artist created music that represents how we look at life, how we deal with and cultivate relationships, and some of went so far as to show how we view the world. R & B is no longer the soulful rhythm genre of music it once was. It has now been co-opted by hip hop and pop. I am sure that many people will have issue with some of the people on my list. If you’re favorite artist doesn’t have enough material for a greatest hits albums, they’re probably not on this list.

1. Stevie Wonder  is pure musical genius! Mr. Stevie Wonder is a gifted musician who has one of the smoothest, melodic, and recognizable voices to every be heard on radio, hands down. Since the age of 13 Mr. Wonder and produced hit after hit and here it is four decades, 30 top ten hits and 22 Grammys later and his music still makes us smile. He was never one to sing easy song, he sung songs with difficult choruses, abrupt stops and unpredictable changes. His accomplishments and impact on the music world is unrivaled.

2.Michael Jackson  as a 10 year-old he blew most competition young and old out the water! M.J. wasn’t just a  talent, he was a true student of music. To Michael Jackson music is art and he used his versatility to navigate musical genres effortlessly. His songs went the extra mile, with sound and vocal effects to create a deeper ambiance. Through his voice you could hear the anxiety, sadness or stress of a song, it was Jackson’s musical experimentations that led to the creation of modern-day pop-music. Michael’s voice is as distinctive, his smooth harmonic sounds are timeless. He has been often imitated (Donnell Jones, Usher, Beyonce, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and countless others), but never duplicated!  You can also credit him with the needless explosion of choreography in videos and stage performance.

3. Prince was musically and thematically ahead of his time. Compiling ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. He infused dark funk, pop, gospel soul with R & B passion. It was Prince and Michael Jackson who and sustained Music Television and music video.  He is also the uncredited father of the “text message”. Prince is an ambitious, creative, inspired musician. His off-kilter, feminine voiced songs are not duplicate. From ballads, to love songs, to dance melodies Prince did it all.

4. R. Kelly  is an incredibly gifted versatile singer. Robert Kelly can bring you from high and passionate, to a playful sing-song flow with the greatest of ease. Kells, or the Pied-Piper of R & B manages to reinvent himself with each album. He has sung songs about topics that are relevant to the everyday man from finances, to love problems, to having faith in oneself. Billboard has acknowleded R. Kelly as #1 R & B artist of the last 25 years, go figure. His collaborations are legendary and the next time you are “Stepping”, or doing the “Slide” at a club or wedding reception remember that R. Kelly made it possible.

5. Ray Charles: His records were always filled with an expressed assortment of slurs, glides, moans, shrieks, wails, shouts, and hollers that were all beautifully controlled, disciplined and inspired by his musicianship. For over 40 years Ray Charles filled us with thought and empowerment. He composed, arranged and produced his music long before there was a corporate vehicle to do so. Whether he was tackling country music, putting in Latin-esque blues motif or call and responses with the back-up singer, Ray Charles was a musical explorer who pushed boundaries and the boundaries of race, a pioneer.  He had one of the most distinctive and powerful voices the industry has ever known and it’s a shame that more people don’t know his work.

Also in order and deserving to be mentioned for the great music and contributions to the R & B genre are James Brown, Luther Vandross, Lionel Richie, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pentergrass, Al Jereau, Usher,  Ron Isley, Smokey Robinson,  Keith Sweat, Al Green,  Freddie Jackson, Baby Face,  Barry White, Jackie Wilson, Peabo Bryson, Frankie Beverly, Brian McNight, Maxwell, Howard Hewett, Jackie Wilson, Jeffrey Osbourne, James Ingram, Avant, Lou Rawls, Brian Mcknight, Musiq and Joe.

What’s  Your Top 5?

A response to Dr. Boyce Watkins

I was disheartened by the recent passing of Nathaniel Hale, affectionately called “Nate Dogg”, on March 15, 2011.  The morning after his death I read ‘The Death of Nate Dogg is the End of a Very Dark and Creative Era’ an article by Dr. Boyce Watkins. This article suggests that Nate Dogg’s death was in part due to smoking marijuana. Over the last few years there has been a noticeable push to legalized marijuana, but not because gangsta rappers are smoking it, singing about it and not because minorities are smoking it, the force behind this push is middle class soccer moms and affluent whites that are smoking it. Whites who don’t want to have to hide, or get to it from dealers in an alley somewhere. Whites who see marijuana as a business model and cash crop. If smoking weed is what did Nate Dogg in you had better watch those pilots, teachers, business people, bus drivers and grandma. Nate Dogg’s death was not due to his affinity for the leafy green, but more due to his affinity for Soul Food and lack of exercise, just ask the people who know.

Inner-city Los Angeles of the 80’s and 90’s was the most violent place in America to live, but when VIP records had a studio and he was there fighting for studio time, we were there. When Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg and Warren G formed the group “213”, we were there. When made his debut on Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic’ album in 1992, we were there. When his distinctive crooning helped Long Beach explode to a national audience, we were there. When he sung “Summertime in the LBC” we were there. When SWAT was called to his baby momma’s house, only to see Nate Dogg running and stumbling across the lawn with his child… while LAPD officers laughed on television, we were there too. When he dropped lines like “Smoke Weed Every Day”, “Indosmoke”, “Are You High Yet?” and “If you smoke like I smoke, then your high, like every day”, we were there. Yes, Nate Dogg’s songs were filled with smoking marijuana. Many of us could see that the end was near for the big homie due to strokes in 2007 and 2008, yet I still couldn’t help feeling some kind of way about his death. Nate Dogg’s hooks stood above all others in the game, his voice was the emotive side of West Coast Hip Hop and he never really got the ‘props’ he deserved.

Dr. Boyce also said “gangster rap is almost never positive, educational, empowered, politically active or otherwise productive”, this statement I see as problematic. When Gansta rap, put inner-city law enforcement on trial, and introduced itself to the word with this line from NWA’s Ice Cube “Fuck the police, coming straight from the underground. A young nigga’s got it bad because I’m brown.” , there was no more educational, empowered, or politically active statement than that. Is there a criminal element to the music? Yes, and that is why some have refused to listen, yet they listen to the Washington elect who happen to be robbing them every day. I respect Dr. Boyce immensely and I agree that “Gansta” rap, after corporations took over, became less the voice of the streets and a shadow of the power it has once demonstrated. Dr. Boyce it all comes down to perspective whether the negativity comes from a lyric or a Senate bill that claims to be for education, but cuts after school programs and school funding. It is true that Nathaniel Hale could have been doing something else, and you can say the same thing to each all the corrupt congressperson. Violence exists in films and books, but I have never seen anyone condemning Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron , Stephen King or Stephanie Meyers. What I see is the masses rewarding Charlie ‘7 gram rock” Sheen’s drug usage with more money and prominence. What I see is network television shows rooting for the Lohans, Kardashians,Spears, Aguileras and Downey jr.’s of the world to get back on top after bad behavior, and I see people of color with similar transgressions being vilified, that is what society is embracing. Perhaps it is the perception that Gangsta rap is bad because it’s predominately Black. Case in point, Eminem is the most violent, misogynistic, homophobic, foul-mouthed gangsta rappers on the planet, but he gets 2 nationally televised commercials during the Superbowl and a ’60 minutes’ prime time special.

Today hip hop has blessed us with studio thugs and paper gangsters who rap about little more than partying, drinking and promiscuity, because the shooting deaths of Tupac and Biggie, showed Americans just how real thug life was. The realism of hip hop has been replaced by profit while underground music never gets heard on the radio. For all it’s relevance social realism and hard truth has a limited audience.  Dr. Boyce, Nate Dogg’s music was many things but it spoke to those of us who knew that “Brenda Had a Baby”  and nodded our heads to “Hail Mary” while quietly wondering if there was a “Gangsta’s Paradise” or if  “Heaven had a Ghetto”. He spoke to those of us who knew “Murder Was the Case” and that “911 is a joke”. His music resonated with many of us who lived at “Tha Crossroads” and knew that “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot”. His music became the theme song for the hustlers who knew “That if You Stay Ready” you don’t have to get ready, because sometimes at “Six in the Morning” the police are at your door.  He conversed with the trouble youth who wanted to be “Paid in Full” because he knew all about “C.R.E.A.M” and  “How I Could Just Kill a Man”, when your “Mind is Playin’ Tricks on Me” or when you’re “Insane in the Brain”.  Yes, his music even spoke to those who never wrote a letter to “Stan”,  hit “Rock Bottom”, or ran “8 Mile”s. he spoke to those that heard “The Message” and cried “Gangsta Tears” because they only had “One Mic”.  Nate Dogg knew that “Life is… Too Short” and though he has gone on to “The Next Episode” his impact, his music lives on within those of us who know, because we were there.

Rest In Peace Nate Dogg

 

MG Hardie

Far to often we have waited until it was too late to give the people who moved and inspired us recognition. These artist have made us feel, think and move. Many have shown us that it is okay to be human and that we are not alone. If nothing else perhaps these artist will be rediscovered by some or seen in a new way by others.  We have grown up with R & B, we have watched it blend soul and jazz elements, we have seen it nod heads with hip hop grooves and dance with pop beats. I have created this list not based solely on sales, emotions, but more so on impact. Having one hit may not help, while dropping a classic album does. These women, these artist had guts, creativity and range. They did not allow music to power the song while they fell back, they were the songs and without them Rhythm & Blues would not be the same. A lot of women have contributed to R & B, here is part 2 of my All-Time list.

 

6. Mary J. Blige

What’s the 411 defined  what a debut albums should be, garnering nine Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards. Blige has recorded eight multi-platinum albums. She has received the World Music Legends Award. Her debut album “What’s the 411”  combined her tough girl personal, street wise lyrics, soulful voice with jagged hip hop beats, it was underappreciated at the time, but remains Soul’s first exploration into Hip Hop. Not many certified soul singers have been able to keep up with pop-culture, Mary J. has and inspired thousands of copycat vocalist in the process.

7. Anita Baker

She has eight Grammy Awards. Anita can not only connect with an audience like no other, but she can out sing just about everyone on this list.  She helped define urban contemporary music “Quite Storm”, with sophisticated, tradition-oriented soul and R & B. Her music has always been filled with thought, jazz and sadness. Anita Baker’s songs “Sweet Love”, “You bring me joy”, “Giving you the best that I got” and “Good Love” are songs that will live forever.

8. Beyonce (“B”, Sasha Fierce)

 

The hardest working singer on the list and it shows in her music and her videos. Beyonce’s debut solo album “Dangerously in Love” in 2003, spawned the number one hits “Baby Boy and “Crazy in Love” and became one of the most successful albums of that year, earning her five Grammy Awards.  She is one of the most honored artists by the Grammys with a total of 16 Grammy Awards Beyonce’s music is always anthem filled to perfection. She is one of the most downloaded and imitated R & B artist today. With each albums she offers something new whether she is mixing pop and funk, singing ballads or introducing us to alternative personalities, Beyonce has done it all.

9. Mariah Carey (Butterfly, Mimi, MC)

She is often thought to be too pop, but Mariah has sold more than 200 million albums. Mariah has always offered diversely soul ballads and collaborations with R&B and rap heavyweights. She is a mix between Whitney Houston and Celien Dion and thus she bridges the gap from soulful ballad to hip-hop to pop.  However, unlike Celine and Houston, Mariah writes and produces her own songs.  With a uncomparable 5 octave vocal range and a willingness to often tackle social theme Carey displays guts to go along with her talent. Her songs often display a playful mastery of high range vocal ability, which often puts Mariah is in a category few can achieve

10. Alicia Keys

 

Her music has been uncompromising, as she is distinctively respected. Her debut album, “Songs in A Minor” sold over 12 million copies. She was the best-selling new artist of 2001 He debut album earned her five Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year and Best New Artist of 2002. He second album, “The Diary of Alicia Keys”, sold eight million copies, and gained her four more Grammy Awards. The accomplished pianist incorporates classical piano into almost every track. Her songs of female empowerment, triumph, heartbreak and love are felt worldwide. Passionate, raw and strong her voice and talent are not to be denied.

R & B Singers of note: Tina Marie, Janet Jackson, Ashanti, Jill Scott, Faith Evans, Sade, Chrisette Michelle

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Part 1

Far to often we have waited until it was too late to give the people who moved and inspired us recognition. We often give awards and accolades long after they were deserved. These artist have made us feel, think and move. Many have shown us that it is okay to be human and that we are not alone. If nothing else perhaps these artist will be rediscovered by some or seen in a new way by others.  We have grown up with R & B, we have watched it blend soul and jazz elements, we have seen it nod heads with hip hop grooves and dance with pop beats. I have created this list not based solely on sales, emotions, but more so on impact. Having one hit may not help, while dropping a classic album does. These artist, these women had guts, creativity and range. They did not allow music to power the song while they fell back, they were the songs and without them Rhythm & Blues would not be the same. A lot of women have contributed to R & B, here is part 1 of my All-Time list.

 

11. Lauryn Hill

 

Lauryn is on this list for one reason and that is The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. Her 1998 album is what debut albums should be. This album contained musical styles that ranged from R&B, Soul and Reggae, to Hip Hop and Gospel. The album was strikingly beautifully as it blended melodies in ways never done before. Her album is the perfect example of what happens when  talent meets purpose.  The album dealt with many serious life issues, but it was never bogged down. She became the 1st women to win 5 Grammys on one night and the music world is much better off because of it.  

12. Erykah Badu

Baduizm is Badu’s highly acclaimed debut album, it was released in 1997 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts. The album was filled with introspective lyrics, jazz and a bass-heavy sound. Baduizm was hailed as one of the leading lights of the burgeoning “Neo Soul” genre. because of Erykah’s phrasing and tempo she drew comparisons to Billie Holiday. Her lyrics challenge listeners with their highly personal, philosophical, and political content. Her albums say everything that we want to,but never do.  Through her album she was able to weave different musical influences together to create a richer sound.

13. Toni Braxton

Toni topped the Billboard 200 with her 1993 self-titled debut album her second album “Secrets”, spawned the number-one hits “You’re Makin’ Me High”, “I Love Me Some Him” and “Un-Break My Heart” songs that live forever. Braxton’s debut album won several awards, including three Grammy Awards (for Best New Artist and two consecutive awards for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance). Braxton’s broad appeal comes from her low vocal register and her range which includes R&B, adult contemporary, saucy dance tracks and sultry ballads.

14. Rihanna

Discovered as a teenager. Rihanna has a unique and powerful carribean voice, so much so that her collaborations consist of a rapper dropping 12 bars while she sings the rest. That’s a good thing because Ri-Ri’s voice has outshined every single counterpart she has been on track with. Albums Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded and Rated R provide her a showcase; complete with R & B, soul, dance hall, pop, a rebellious attitude and risque sexual lyrics. Her Caribbean-inflected R & B has managed to escape the package the industry tried to put her in.

15.Keyshia Cole

Cole’s 2005 debut album Way It Is  landed at number six on the Billboard 200. The song “I should have cheated” from that album told the world what was to come. What came was her second album Just Like You, which is one of the best R & B albums ever released. Keyshia’s lyrics powered by her vocals connected men and women with her pain. She has spawned a thousand wannabee, but there is only one.

 

Through their music these singers can tell you more about themselves I anyone ever could, so click the links. Other impactful R & B singers: Pink, Monica, Aalyah, Brandy, Mya, Fantasia

 Part 2

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